License-free gun bills draw Capitol crowd

License-free gun bills draw Capitol crowd

By Chuck Lindell

More than 100 people signed up Tuesday to speak on two bills that would allow legal gun owners to carry handguns, either concealed or in a holster, without having to first acquire a state-issued license in Texas.

All were drawn to the first-ever Capitol hearing granted to a bill that would allow license-free “constitutional carry” — a top priority for the Republican Party of Texas and the next step for gun-rights advocates one session after the Legislature approved openly carried handguns, as well as concealed firearms in most buildings on public university campuses, by those with a license to carry.

“This is a big day for many Texans,” state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, said about the hearing of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on House Bill 375, which he said would “see our Second Amendment rights restored, respected and protected.”

Stickland and many of the gun-rights activists who testified in favor of HB 375 said government permission should not be required — for a fee — to exercise the constitutional right to bear arms.

“I don’t think the government has the right to sell us back our rights,” Stickland told the committee.

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